Predictable

About 10 years ago, when I first moved into this house, there was an issue with the garbage pickup. If I put the garbage out the night before, then the truck rounded the corner of my street about noon, without fail. If, however, I didn’t remember to put it out until after I was tucked up in bed and thought “Screw it. The truck comes at noon. The truck always comes at noon. I’ll do it in the morning.” The truck would be outside my house at 7:15am – 15 minutes before my alarm went off. Every single time. I don’t know who exactly the City of Toronto had assigned to watch my house…but he was a vigilant employee. It got so that I could predict what time the garbage truck would come according to when I put it out. If I staggered to the curb at 2am, having startled awake with the realization that I had forgotten to put it out, then the truck would come late in the afternoon. This timing ensured that I would spend a whole day staring at the garbage…furious that I had traipsed out under a frozen sky in the wee hours because I just knew that if I didn’t get up, my informant would be on the phone to his superiors in 10 seconds. “She went back to sleep Sir. Yes sir. I’ve ordered the truck for 6:30am. Yes Sir…she does seem to be a slow learner.”

This system was so reliable, so predictable, that I understandably came to believe that I controlled garbage pickup on my street (Laugh if you want. I have witnesses) and learned why they call it Murphy’s Law, not “Murphy’s General Rule” or “Murphy’s Vague Guideline”.

I was thinking about that yesterday as I worked on the Gansey. When I picked it up for it’s 48 hour turn in the queue, taking advantage of the chilly weather…it was 15 degrees (59F) outside. Today..it’s turn complete, it is 30 degrees outside (86F) with 86% humidity, which makes it feel like 38 (100F). I must say, as the heat crept up with every moment I spent on the gansey, I felt the spectre of Murphy looming over me. It is way too hot to work on a gansey now. During the 2 days I worked on the gansey, I fixed the front/back error, joined the first shoulder, knit the shoulder straps and picked up the stitches for the sleeve.

Gansstrapj2408

I decided what pattern to put on the sleeve, and I got about 8cm (3″) done on that sleeve.

Ganseysleeve12408

I even got so far as to finish the sleeve part of the underarm gusset.

Gussetsgansey2408

I feel good about it, that’s a pretty fine amount to get done on a great big sweater in just 48 hours…especially since I also kept kept the girls alive, made dinner (admittedly, only once…and I didn’t even clean up after) and met my writing goals for both days. ( I’m getting very close to another big writing deadline. You can expect it to begin effecting my mood and sanity soon. The only symptom so far is a strange tremor thing in my left eyelid.) The biggest thing I did in the last 48 hours though, the thing that was the hardest, is that I accepted that there is no way at all that the remaining gansey handspun is going to knit the remaining gansey.

It’s definitely back to the wheel to make more. Definitely. It’s been hard to accept…but there’s just no way I’m going to make it. Sigh. I’ll bring some up and start washing it later, after the writing goal for today.

Right now though, since generating a beautiful summer day worked so well…right now I think I’ll take my laptop to the park and work there. Summer is almost over, and I don’t want to miss any of it.


Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.

~John Lubbock

179 thoughts on “Predictable

  1. The gansey is so intricate…I’m in amazement at the pictures. I agree, gansey did stir the heavens and bring back summer. Off to the park!

  2. That’s why Tuesdays were invented, hon. I don’t think it’s the spinning that’s got you down, I think it’s the spectre of fighting off the squirrels. Ah, well.
    P.S., that gusset is a work of art. Nice knitting (if hot).

  3. Love the pattern you picked for the shoulder! It looks great.
    Maybe you could work Murphey’s Law to your advantage. Like, if you swear off beer it will come to you in great quantities. Or decide to stop disciplining the girls and they immediately stop being rebellious…just a thought, wouldn’t it be great if it worked that way, especially when it comes to beer.

  4. Wow…my little finished toddler sweater in plain stockinette pales in comparison to this monstrous gansey. Me thinks I should be grateful I am married to a fairly small boned, thin man. And that he’s never longed for a gansey. I am in awe of your resolve to finish this project!
    And the garbage? We got a notice on our recycle bin one day…”please have out by 7am.” Dh had put it out there about 7:10, and the pick up didn’t come until well after 8. I think the Toronto garbage staff is spying on my house.

  5. I’ve adopted a version of your 48 hour rotation to finish the 40-odd (some odder than others) scarves I have to have knit by Christmas Eve. I have 4 knitting bags with varying numbers of scarves in varying degrees of done-ness in my car. I spend many evenings a week visiting my brother in his nursing home and each evening I take in a different bag and do a few rows on each scarf in rotation. I’m sure if I had the strength of mind to finish one scarf at a time, it would be faster, but I’d die of boredom.

  6. Steph, I feel compelled to issue a word of caution. You know that there are certain, um, how do I say this politically correctly? Screw it, there is no political correctness. There are certain fur-covered rodents (I believe you called them “bastards” at one point — or at least one of them, anyway) who pay attention to your blog. They have legions of underlings. They are now on high alert that the wool washing is about to commence, and are dutifully watching your house. Oh, sure, it seems like they’re only chittering away in the trees, talking about the heat and the humidity, perhaps discussing where to get hickory nuts and debating the lack of pecans in the northern climes, but really they’re discussing the news that the corriedale is about to reappear. And they’re planning (I think the better word may be scheming) about how best to torture you. Go into battle well armed, and be prepared! (By the way, have you ever watched “Open Season”? I’m constantly reminded of your squirrel enemies when I see the part about McSquizzy’s Army. Do see it if you haven’t previously.)

  7. Don’t go to the park with your computer! It’ll rain without fail! (Murphy’s law) Seriously, though, the gansey looks lovely, and I hope that you have perfect working-in-the-park weather (I’m jealous). Good luck getting ready for the upcoming writing deadline — maybe eye twitching will be the worst of it?

  8. I SO understand the garbage thing. I used to live at a place where they told me to have it out by 6:00 a.m. and if I ran it out there at 5:45, I was always too late. I asked them about it once. She told me if I put it out late, I could call and they would come back and get it. My question was, if they started collecting at 5:00 a.m., why didn’t they just tell me that in the first place instead of my having to call them and their having to make an extra trip? Oh my!

  9. Steph, you were going to have to spin one of these days anyway. At least you have a good cause.

  10. I was so afraid you were going to say the sleeve was knit wrong and you had to rip back. I really don’t like it when my hobby starts to feel like work πŸ™‚

  11. WOW! That gansey really is going to be stunning, a true work of art and love when all fleece washing/handspinning/designing/handknitting/ripping/rethinking is accounted for.
    I sympathize about the garbage…a bigger problem was on those very windswept early spring days when the bins would get carried away down the road never to be seen again, long before anyone got out to pick up the empties!

  12. The sweater is just beautiful. I also love the quote – and the reminder that summer is almost over, and we must enjoy it while it lasts. I start school next week, today is my last day of summer vacation, and I am spending it cleaning the house. (Because I spent the summer enjoying the summer and not cleaning…)
    About ten years ago I was able to quit my job and stay home to raise the kid. I found this poem, and have kept it on the fridge ever since. Hope you like it!
    “I meant to do my work today
    But a brown bird sang in the apple-tree,
    And a butterfly flitted across the field,
    And all the leaves were calling me.
    And the wind went sighing over the land,
    Tossing the grasses to and fro,
    And a rainbow held out its shining hand –
    So what could I do but laugh and go?”
    – Richard Le Gallienne
    Happy rest-of-the-summer!

  13. That’s what I call making lemonade (while the sun shines). Enjoy the park and may no unsupervised animals find you!
    That’s one of the reasons I keep a book in the car. Never fails. Lights red? Pick up the book, find your place and Bob’s your uncle! They turn green. It’s a proven fact. I think it falls under the whole wash your car and it will rain strategy.

  14. Who knew my garbage guys had cousins in Toronto? Same deal here. The one time I forgot the night before and went out at 6:30AM to roll the darn things out. I was organizing something in the garage before taking out the bins and heard the screach of the trucks as they tore down my street at breakneck speed. They totally ignored me running down the street after them in my nightgown pulling a recycle bin. I almost cried with frustration. And usually, they come at 2PM.
    Wait a minute, with a houseful of teenagers and a guy, you are the one schlepping garbage?
    Guernsey is FAB.

  15. The gansey is coming out *gorgeous.* I watch in awe.
    That said, you don’t get to complain about the cold one day, and the heat the next. You said you wanted it warm? You got warm!

  16. Isn’t that gusset the most pwecious widdle ting dat…(slap)
    Nice gusset. Like those.
    And in re: wool washing, I authorize you to commence testing of Secret Weapon: Michigan Delivery System — avec bungee cord or brick, as seems best to you.

  17. Ah yes, I thought about Murphy’s law as I read your entry yesterday about how cold it was… this while I suffered through 70% humidity. Needless to say, my fingers had a very nice lining of rose cotton angora after about 5 minutes.

  18. First, what are the chances Joe would like a short-sleeved Gansey?
    Second, I’m sure we share the same garbage men, though I don’t think it’s possible.
    Third, it really is a gorgeous piece of knitting.

  19. I know DC and Toronto are pretty far away from each other, but, well, I may have made it worse. We had a cold snap (for August in DC, which means 80s) and I should have worked on my blanket. but instead worked on summer socks. Now that I want to work on the blanket, the heat is back. . .

  20. Absolutely!! I love that quotation! There may be a cousin of your spy watching my house, too. Very similar events happen here re: trash pickup.
    Joe’s Gansey is looking fantastic. Maybe you could write up the pattern & sell it to Interweave Knits, eh?

  21. Your sweater-weather magic certainly did work! You couldn’t have done anything about the humidity, though, could you? Ah well. Off to enjoy the last bits of summer, humidity and all!

  22. So funny about your trash pickup. Mine works the same way. Even better is we can’t complain – they’ve failed to send us a bill for over 2 years despite my phone calls pleading for one.

  23. We are moving (again) and yesterday we took an ‘forced day off’ and sat in the park and watched the world go by. It was wonderful and today we are back to work. It’s something you ‘hafta to do’
    Our new place apparently has squirrels… so you and I will have our own ‘rat bastards’. LOL I even have hubby dearest calling them that now!
    Thanks for the laughs!
    Susan….on her way to Vacouver island next weekend

  24. With the Law in effect, I certainly hope there is still some fleece to bring up. Can squirrels raid a basement?

  25. What is the proper thing to say here? “Sorry you have to spin some more yarn?” Sounds weird — just as weird as “Sorry you have to knit.” I guess, “Sorry you have to wash and prep and do battle with that squirrel” would work. Sorry about the garbage guys, too. I had a double load to haul out on Wednesday, myself, because my timing was off the week before.

  26. Yep, we had a couple cooler days, then the heat went back up again. But at least only to 80 or so. As during the last three decades or so August has meant a week or two of 90-100+ weather, frankly, I’m highly relieved. We’ve even had some rain, which is also unusual this time of year. (Yes, even on the green side of Oregon. Stop staring like that people, it’s true. It’s *August*, for cryin’ out loud.)
    Totally gorgeous gansey details! *Love* that sweater. (Rams? I nearly went into, “ZOMG, want!” mode, so give yourself a break. [g]) As to the Washing of the Fleece, and Ritual Drying While Under Attack–
    Maybe it’s time to invest in a Super Soaker??

  27. The people who control your street’s trash pickup must be of the same bent as those that control my father’s recycling pickup (though he has gotten good at chasing after them, one bin under each arm).

  28. The Gusset: Nature’s way of making armpits attractive again.
    I do love gusset shots. They always look somewhat dirty if you tilt your head just so, but they’re such clever little sweater components.

  29. But you love spinning, too, right? Nice progress on the gansey!
    We have to have the trash out by 7am, but my guys never come until between 10 and 11. They make up for it by throwing the cans and lids as far as they can, especially in the winter. One of our neighbors got fined for putting out trash after the pickup time, still trying to figure that out.

  30. The gansey is looking amazing. And to think you also spun all that yarn yourself. Now that’s love. Once I have a wheel maybe I’ll attempt the same. πŸ™‚

  31. Totally off topic… I’m taking a sick day off work and am able to catch an episode of Knitty Gritty, sadly not the one you were in… but then I got thinking, with so many folks putting things up on YouTube, maybe it would be there. Well, it wasn’t, but if you want to freak yourself out sometime, I suggest doing a YouTube search on “Yarn Harlot”. =)

  32. You have elevated gussets to an art form.
    This garbage thing? Evil conglomerate. We also have operatives in our neighborhood. What I’m about to tell you is top secret, and you must never breath a word of it to anyone, or there *will* be retaliation: It’s the s.q.u.i.r.r.e.l.s. I’m sorry, I have to go now. You didn’t hear this from me, do you understand??

  33. Your garbage spotter’s sibling lives near me and does the same thing to us. If we remember to get the garbage out at night, it’s there until 5pm the next day. If we don’t get it out, they’re there at 6:30 to pick it up. It doesn’t seem to make a difference about the other folks on the block… just ours.
    It’s 23C here, I just told the guys who work for me that I’m leaving early. I am, too.

  34. Ah, the return of “Tuesdays are for spinning”. Preceded by the inevitable “cursing of the ‘Rat Bastard’ corriedale thief” blog. Followed by yet another tax-deductible donation to Squirrels without Borders. I don’t recall who suggested it, but we really ought to look into T-shirts for that one. Imagine the looks on the muggles faces when your whole audience on the next book tour turns up wearing those shirts!
    And what in the world is the Michigan Delivery System – or don’t we want to know, Rams?

  35. Your work on the gansey is awesome! Nice Gussett! Teh gansey my Mom knit me several years ago is still my favorite sweater to wear when it gets cold. And best of all no matter how much weight I gain or lose, I can still wear it.
    Nice to know you have control over the weather! ;o)

  36. Another kindred spirit here, loving the warmth and charm of summer, and grasping each remaining day as tightly as I can. Summer warms my soul.
    ~ Dar

  37. As Yvonne said, I worry more about the upcoming war with that *#*%^*&_#@ squirrel and his desire to rob you of all the beautiful washed grey batt. Have you thought that if he hadn’t taken a fancy to your clean wool, you might have already spun enough to finish the gansey? I stand totally in awe of your skills on the gansey … to design a complete gansey is incredible, but to do it “as you go”, complete with underarm gusset, is truly stupendous … there aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe your talents!

  38. Above my kitchen sink, I have a sign that says ‘Time is precious, Waste it wisely’ I don’t know who said it, but there are days when it strikes me that this is the perfect definition for swatching.
    Lovely gansey, but no way am I going there.

  39. Gorgeous gansey! My hubby is making one for himself as we speak (write?). As to garbage men and filthy little rat bastards, they are all in league to drive women insane. At least the garbagemen don’t come through your fireplace to sit on your tv and nibble on your freshly spun cashmere/merino!

  40. That sweater is amazing… I’m thinking of it as your “Opus” so to speak (as in “Mr. Holland’s Opus”). A true legacy of knitting…
    If I were to spend years washing fleece, guarding from squirrels, carding, spinning, designing, knitting, ripping, reknitting… the first time my husband wore it he would be sure to spill a plate of spaghetti down the front. That’s Murphy’s Law at work in my house.
    We have the same problem with our garbage by the way… but I make my dh take it out in the middle of the night.

  41. Stephanie, that gansey is a gorgeous piece of work. There’s often one photo in each of your posts that makes me exclaim “holy doodle” (whereupon the snoozing cat in my lap wakes up and gives me a very dirty look.) This time it was The Gusset. What a little marvel of knitting engineering (sewing, too, I guess.) Beeyootiful.
    By the way, Joe, the natural grey is very nice indeed, but next time we’d like to see you in something blue.

  42. I feel your pain…but the gansey is a textural beauty; the underarm gusset is exquisite.

  43. Thanks for bringing the warm weather back (it worked here in MN, too)!
    Sorry to hear you need to spin more, but you made beautiful progress on the gansey. This, I explain to my DH, is why we have multiple projects going at once – it has nothing to do with attention problems! πŸ™‚

  44. Oh, my, that underarm gusset is just gorgeous! I am so not worthy.
    Controlling the weather by knitting … hm. I’ll have to get the Eris pullover out of hibernation and get those sleeves going.

  45. I’ve always liked the Bertrand Russel quote β€œThe time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
    The gansey is looking absolutely beautifull–love that gusset.

  46. New fan of your blog, so, sorry if you have already mentioned the answer to this: my mom and I are wondering if you will be reading, writing/signing, knitting and/or eating lamb kebabs (isn’t that kinda weird?) at Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck this year.

  47. And so we should be expecting a post soon about the return of the robbing rodent – say the day after the fleece is washed? Well, he too probably recognizes that summer is fleeting. Meanwhile, the Gansey is looking fabulous. Your tempting me to think I might try cables.

  48. I appreciate your gansey sacrifice to the knitting/weather gods since it has just rippled here; after a week of rain and floods, I just saw a gleam of sunshine. Still a chance of rain today, for the umpteenth day in a row, but tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70s F (maybe 24 degrees C) and SUNNY. Hallelujah! I will be knitting at a Folk Festival and also volunteering in the Children’s area of the folk fest for the local Herpetological Society. It will be fun, and I can bask in the sun, and knit when possible, without guilt because I’m volunteering!
    If you’re like me, those initials in the wrong place have been a total road block and just so effing annoying that you couldn’t stand to work on the gansey. Now that that’s fixed, and you’re on a new part, bet you’ll fly when weather and spinning come together.
    That is, until the second sleeve….
    But you’re not like me, right? πŸ™‚

  49. Can I just express my deep and sincere gratitude here? It’s been hovering in the teens (see, I am learning to speak metric) for several days, and the weathercritters seem to have decided that “overcast and/or fog, with the sun barely visible through the murk for the odd ten minutes” counts as “partly cloudy.” And of course my son the Random Laundry Generator has been doing his part by leaking like a sieve.
    Until today. All of his laundry is done, so I can start catching up on ours. Thank you, thank you.
    Oh, and the gansey is splendiferous, but you knew that.

  50. “Right now though, since generating a beautiful summer day worked so well…right now I think I’ll take my laptop to the park and work there.”
    …so now it’s going to rain. LOL.

  51. Hey Stephanie – per your comment about the eyelid tremor, just wanted to mention that I too have been suffering from this for a few weeks now, so I went to see my eye doctor the other day, and he said that he’s been seeing this a lot (3 people that morning) and that usually it’s stress related, but that with the number of people coming to see him, he thinks it might be environmental this time (I live in the west end of Toronto). Just thought it might interest you to know.

  52. Hmmmm, so the return of the sticky gooey temperatures is YOUR fault.
    Beautiful gusset.

  53. I agree that your gansey is beautiful.
    And being one who takes an umbrella with me so that it WON’T rain, I understand completely the thing about the garbage pickup. I have the same issue with the mail delivery. And when I wait too long to put the letters in the mail and he comes early, I have to drive to the post office with them!

  54. Sending out non-squirrel vibes πŸ™‚ Has he shown his head at all?
    The Gansey looks great!

  55. What a lovely quote. And so timely for me as my big deadline came today… and I passed. Another PhD in the world. Woot. May your deadline be as pleasant as mine was today.

  56. The first time I knitted a gusset in a gansey, I was amazed it worked. I just followed the directions and there it was! Cool! I kept showing everyone but they weren’t knitters and didn’t get it. BTW, some of us who have been sweating in the 90’s wish it would be 59 degrees just for one day! THnaks for converting the temp.for the Americans!

  57. The gansey is looking wonderful!
    Sorry you have to make more yarn! My husband says that washing and carding sounds like better hot weather work than wrangling the whole sweater though.

  58. Umm, not to be critical, but next time you decide to monkey with the weather could you try to keep the tornadoes and flooding away from my house? This morning as I walked my daughter to shcool we found (and I am SO not making this up) a 21 inch fish in the street on top of a storm drain. Poor guy got sucked out of the fish pond while our whole street was underwater.

  59. Your sanitation workers clearly commute by air between our homes, as we have the exact same issue!
    Gansey looks gorgeous, of course. I can still only muster the energy for socks, but perhaps I can persuade summer to return by picking up my long-neglected sweater. One can hope!

  60. Oh I love that quote! That is one of my favourite things to do. Others include listening to a steady rain, walking in the winter woods, falling asleep on the beach after a good swim, and playing fetch with my dog.

  61. The gansey is fabulous and getting more so! Joe will look so nice in it and be so cozy and warm when it’s cold. I have a trick for working on something hot when the weather won’t cooperate. I sit at the table with the weight of the knitting on it instead of on my lap. I have also read of using an ironing board with adjustable legs to support the work.

  62. Love that quote…
    And good for you. When it’s cold and you feel like cuddling down with a big woolly gansey, it will still be there.

  63. You do realize that if you take your laptop outside to enjoy the summer weather at the park, it will possibly rain? If you can control the garbage pickup, then I’m quite certain you can also control the weather.

  64. Are the squirrels in your neighborhood ready to line their nests for the winter ahead?
    The gansey looks fabulous!
    I envy you your definite changes in seasons, although I don’t want to shovel snow to get out of my house…(I already put in my time in my youth with that fun activity). Here in the central valley of California, they say there are four seasons, but I see a brightening time (spring to some), a heat time (this is summer and fall to you), and a cooler, sometimes wet time (winter). Once or twice a year it will get cold enough in the winter to freeze. However, I must admit, having lemons and limes growing in my yard, flowers that bloom constantly, year-round garden, and almost year-round outdoor activities (bicycling, swimming, eating alfresco) is wonderful. I do, however, miss a “white” winter during the holidays. Hope you enjoyed your day at the park.

  65. It does not matter what time I set the garbage can out, or what time it is picked up–I run over it or knock it into the irrigation canal at least once a month.

  66. You’re not going to put the wool outside after you wash it, right? You’ve learned that, right?
    Do you think we could get a time machine, go back in time and have a little chat with Murphy’s mom, and persuade her not to have children?
    The gansey is looking beautiful.

  67. The gansey looks gawgeous!!! I just booked 2 reservations to see you on Sept. 15 when you’re here in L.A. I can hardly wait! See you then!

  68. OK, so how does this Murphy’s thing work again? I’ve almost completely stopped knitting, temporarily. Really, they expect me to teach school when I could be knitting? With all progress stopped, the weather should turn very cool, right? Knit wool, it gets hot: knit nothing it gets what, cool? Ha!! Over 100F (heat index) again today. Record highs. Such true misery. Work, weather, no knitting. Two weeks and I need a vacation (in Alaska.)

  69. The garbage thing is the one thing I have under total control. I live on the corner, so they HAVE to drive by the G street side of my house and the 4th street side. I never know which they are going to do early or late, but by looking up and down the street, I can just put the trash on the street that hasn’t been picked up yet.

  70. The gansy looks fabulous!
    Since you obviously control the weather, could I bother yu to work on it (or something equally hot) until Tuesday? We’re going camping one mast time, and I’d like to have nice weather while we’re at the beach ;).

  71. You haven’t talked about how you are going to guard your freshly washed fleece from that evil fleece-stealing-sonofabitch. Any plans?
    The gansey looks great–the gusset is so graceful. Nice job.
    Good luck with your squirrel.

  72. Dude, move further south! Down in San Diego, we had a bloody heat wave and it was 86F and I nearly died. I am definitely not going to approve of winter when I go to college. It gets to 37F and that’s not cold enough for snow. So I get to freeze, with none of the greatly rewarding snowball fights.
    The sweater looks amazing. I wish you knitted me clothing… I’m far too ADD to do it myself.

  73. I’m surprised that taking your laptop to the park to work outside didn’t make it rain!!

  74. Lovely, lovely, lovely – but definitely not Houston knitting. I hope you don’t plan to bring it here. I sent you a note, by the way, about your trip and my delightful conversation with Jayme-the-wonder-publicist. Please let me know if you need an airport pickup or anything else while you come and visit! Can’t WAIT to see you in September!
    PS – it will still be warm. Hot by your terms possibly. Just wanted you to be warned in advance. I’m also happy to come and check your hotel room to make sure it is clear of all giant Texas bugs. Don’t want a repeat of your Austin visit and the mystery bug incident.

  75. That is one gorgeous gusset! And I love the quote at the end. Good thing you now have sunny weather for washing and drying wool, eh? Hope the squirrels keep their beady-eyed little distance.

  76. Added to the list of things I never thought I’d say (right up there with “hand me that piano”) is Wow! What a beautiful gusset!

  77. If the bungee cords don’t work, I could be persuaded to come and babysit the Secret Weapon. But you have to get me butter tarts.

  78. I love that quote! And for the love of all things knitted and spun do NOT dry your pile of fleece outside again. I don’t think that I can bear to see the bedraggled looking remains left by the squirrel again! Unless of course you plan on guarding it with a shotgun while keeping your eyelids open with toothpicks. Enjoy the rest of your summer weather. I too loathe winter.

  79. Steph — you can keep working on the gansey if you find a nice shady, breezy spot nearby in a park, take a lot of cool refreshing beverages (both alcohol and non-alcohol) and go knit. No phones, etc. This will come in handy when your deadlines loom and you have to take a break or go crazy. And your kids can come only if they have a good book to read and won’t talk. PS have a bathroom nearby too.

  80. what a great quotation! It’s gorgeous weather here on the West Coast but it’s not clear there’ll be much of it. Although I start teaching again in just over a week, I’m stubbornly storing up all the warmth, rest, and relaxation I can — it will come in handy as a memory to get me through a long hard-working school year. Not a waste of time at all.

  81. That is one beautiful gusset. Good work.
    You should definitely get that wool washed now, while you can get it dried.

  82. The gansey is lovely. I want to make one!
    A very dear Tibetan friend told me that a twitch in the left eye means a message is coming from far away. The stronger the twitch and longer its duration, the greater the distance the message is traveling.
    Yesterday a bit of twitching brought a letter from a friend in Los Angeles, California, a phone message from a buddy outside Boston, and a call from my favorite cousin (Denver, Colorado). The message from Boston was expected; the other two were not. All the news was good. Hope your twitch brings something or someone wonderful!

  83. Hang in there Stephanie. That gansey I so proudly showed you in Anchorage has pretty much sat on my couch until now looking at me with reproach. I’ve been feeling properly guilty, but we’ve been having warm weather here until recently and I just couldn’t sit with that massive pile of wool on my lap. Enjoy the summer while you can, soon enough that extra wool will feel wonderful. (And it’s just gorgeous too!)

  84. I have a suggestion for defeating the squirrel. Wash your fleece, but instead of just laying it out to dry in the open and TRYING to guard it…put the fleece into one of those mesh lingerie bags that you can get at large linen stores. Hang the BAG from a clothesline or whatever, using many clothespins or even a clamp (the kind used for clamping pieces of wood together). The fleece will air dry, not blow away and the squirrel should be quite ticked off! I definitely think the heavy duty clamps are the way to go. Hope this helps, good luck!

  85. WOWZA!! I just sat back and stared at the pictures of the gansey . Wonderful. Absolutely stunning.

  86. Just to make you feel even more powerful, evidentally you control the weather in Northern Virginia as well. Yesterday it was fall. Today, I could’ve sworn it was in the 90’s.

  87. Stephanie, I have never posted before, although I have been reading your blog for, what, two years? I am off to visit a dear friend in Ottawa–my first time leaving the US in 16 years and the first time in Canada as an adult. I am so excited to be going to Ottawa and Montreal and hoping to spend time in yarn stores. There are some here in DC–but I never go.–Off to what a co-worker called –a fresh breath of air.
    take care, Sara

  88. perhaps your eyelid tremor is stress, but…
    if you are spending a lot of time writing/staring at a monitor, it might be worth a trip to the eye doc. i got a persistent tremor/tic when trying to finish my dissertation. lo and behold, i had ‘earned’ bifocals at the ripe old age of 34!

  89. So other people get the same eye lid twitch?!?! When it last more then a week and a half – it feels like you are going to go crazy! Awesome underarm gusset – being that I am new to this knitting thing….the gusset seems like quite the feat!

  90. when my husband was married to ETB (elaine the bitch) they lived on Long Island, NY. and he drove to work every day.
    He was absolutely convinced that there was someone assigned to him … oh HE is using that route…. and boom, construction began. This went on for years, no matter which way he went. So you’re not the only one.
    Back to the aran cardigan, the aran pullover, and the i havent decided the pattern yet, socks.
    Madame

  91. I could’nt wait to put the finishing touches on my grandson’s birthday sweater this evening and cut the sass out of my thumb washing the dishes. Your gansey has created quite a stir–I have to get out more. It’s amazing.

  92. Steph, have you considered hiring your fleece-stealing squirrel to take care of your garbage?
    Oh wait, he’d probably invite the racoons to hoin him, and they’d be like drunken sailors (or, personal experience, drunken insurance sales people).

  93. Hey! I think they hired a member of that Murphy clan to supervise trash collection in my neighborhood, too. And I’d lay even odds that his cousin schedules my mail… And I wonder if the Murphys and the squirrels might be in cahoots as well.
    Now that Gansey…bee-Yoo-tee-ful! And I really should knuckle down and make some progress of some of my stuff…

  94. let’s hear it for john lubbock!
    and that same guy must work down here for the trash service. never fails. i’m late with the trash, and they’re early. i put it out the night before, and they show up at 3, after hubbie and kidlets are already home! le sigh.

  95. If you really want to mess with the universe and Murphy’s Law, you could put your favorite cookie recipe in your next knitting book. Maybe then it will start raining baked goods.

  96. Ummm, hon – before you can invoke Murphy again, may I plead with Ken to sneak up on your computer and do that backing up thing. 😎
    We have a different system here with the nice men who collect garbage. For Christmas we give each member of the crew a big tin of cookies and a card…with significant renumeration in it. Amazing what service you get after doing that for a few years.
    Ganz Gut Gansey, btw. It is clearly having a chat with the alpaca/wool light worsted yarn behind my computer that I bought to be an Aran. The yarn wants to be a gansey now. I hate it when yarn gets uppity and refuses to be what you bought it for.

  97. That gansey is looking amazing. I hope the washing and spinning goes quickly and well. By the way, I learned on Iron Chef (the real one, not the interesting but, pale American imitation) that salt is an excellent degreaser and it rinses clean away if you were looking for a cheap and reasonably ecologically friendly alternative to acidic cleansers.

  98. OMG – your trash spy lives at my house too… (cue twilight zone music) how the h*** to they do that?
    gansey is gorgeous and growing more lovely daily… applause, applause.
    good thing you didn’t know just how much hand spun it would take when you began, eh? (smile)

  99. i find the ‘left eye twitching’ thing responds well to stella artois, which, incidentally, also goes with knitting, spinning, and warm weather. just a suggestion.

  100. yes make the most of your Summer – because I cant wait for our Winter to be over – only 6 days left till springtime! πŸ™‚

  101. The garbage thing is universal – even in the very organized country of Germany. πŸ˜‰ Your gansey is beautiful. Chilled white wine might help with cooling off, but then (at least in my case) easier knitting projects are in order.
    Claudia
    (who is already giddy for weeks because of your visit to Atlanta in September)

  102. Read about ya in Vogue Knitting—-way to go, girl! Love the Gansey. Wish I could figure out how to do them. Currently I’m ripping out heels of unsuccessful peasant heels. (I’m a rebel–can’t stand to read directions…so I routinely screw things up and have to tink…)

  103. Hold your head high. I recently ruled out handspinning the yarn for a sweater intended for the beloved Mr. Grumpy of the house, and wanted to see a few samples from the Jamieson Natural Collection. Their color card shows 19, but only 2 are now available. This made me appreciate handspinning even more: down to the hue of the fleece, our handspun is a unique gift. (From nature, to us.)
    Happy Washing/Prepping/Spinning/Plying!
    (From someone that chided you for not flicking from the lock in the middle of this project),
    πŸ™‚ Lauren

  104. I really really hope you blog in great detail about your spinning of the fleece for the sweater. Your yarn is gorgeous and I am spinning for a sweater for the first time and really wanna get it right. Your sweater is fabulous. You inspire. Thank you!!

  105. Yes, indeed. You inspire. I want to follow your example and get to those UFOs of mine, but my hands are sweating just at the thought of the Lopi sweater. It’s not all that hot yet today but humidity is up. Curse you Harlot, and all your good and noble deeds.

  106. I feel the nerves. I’m leaving tonight for study abroad in England for 3.5 months, and I’ve had a nervous twitch in my left eyebrow for a week. But it’ll be okay! Drink a glass of wine (after the writting goal of the day…). It’ll help. If only temporary…

  107. The sweater is going to be stunning, if way too hot for your current weather. I should warn you that the eye twich will only get worse until you take time off of reading, writing, and knitting – I know might as well say no breathing either! or you get to the eye doc. It’s eye strain and a new pair of glasses will help! Good luck! I’m still eye-straining my way thru the MS3… halfway done with the 2nd half of the symetrical version.

  108. I love that gansey. I have a bag of gray fiber just waiting for my spinning ability to improve–I’m brand new. I also have a fleece sitting in my garage, but no carders yet. I am getting there, however.
    In honor of that gorgeous piece of knitting, I think we need to start planning a worldwide virtual gansey celebration in honor of the completion. Surely we can do something to honor “the” sweater.
    Seriously, I’m really impressed with the sweater itself and with the fact that you’re designing it yourself.

  109. Man, the more I see it, the more I just love that sweater. It’s just so so so great looking, and I love that it’s all you. Right On!

  110. Murphy does indeed have an agent watching your address. This agent shares an apartment with the supervisor of the Darwin Award panel.
    Love reading your blog . I lived in Montreal 2 years and enjoyed it (would have liked Toronto more as I am U.S and very “Anglo”
    Your books are great fun and informative and I hope to be somewhere to get them autographed sometime.

  111. I am spending the weekend reading your book, knitting socks and trying to “enjoy the last of summer” out in my mother’s garden! I love the gansey you are knitting and the yarn you are using. I have a book on knitting ganseys too….LOL!

  112. that gussett is amazing. why arent more sweaters designed w/ them? they solve SO many problems, and they just LOOK cool. enjoy summer!

  113. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the concept of using “enjoy” and “summer” in the same sentence.
    But — that gansey rocks. And? Like I said, you get to spin. It’s the squirrel, not the spinning, that’s vexing you (though I maintain the cuplrit was an owl) and not the squirrel.
    You will believe me if we ever get to meet and I tell you the story of the coyote and the UPS box.
    About the garbage? The same guy is on our route. Damn, he has a long commute.
    You should do like my mom did. Teenagers are for taking out garbage.

  114. Dear Stephanie a.k.a your harlotness
    I started my first KAL and am trying to drum up interest. I was hoping you would make mention of it at some point on your blog since the exposure of knitters you get on your knitting blog gives Bush and Clinton a run for their money. I simply fell in love with the Autumn cardigan, knit with kauni, by Ruth Sorensen. There is a link to join the KAL on my webpage and it is listed in yahoo groups as AutumnKAL. I’d love some company while knitting this beautiful piece.
    Thanks to the moon and back….

  115. My dear Harlotta – you must learn in all things (garbagement, weather, squirrel-repelling) to operate under Murphy’s Law In Reverse aka if-you-prepare-for-it-it-will-not-happen.
    One example – The years I go on vacation with the children and husband with every known pharmaceutical they could possibly need packed even though we are vacationing in civillized spots within our own country and everything, they have nary a sneeze. The years I go with hardly a thing but the motrin and their antihistamines because “they have stores and pharmacies wherever we’re going…I always take all this )(#*$(* packed and we never need it…it’ll be fine” they have strep, tonsillitis, poison ivy, rabies, bubonic plauge. Without fail. My son, THE HEALTHY ONE, is the chief culprit. Strep at the beach. Gastro bug of epic proportions another year at the beach. Nasty URI in Alabama. While my daughter, otherwise known here as Sarah-the-Petrie-dish catches NOTHING on vacation. There are multitudinous examples but this one is my personal unfavorite (the knitting ones are legion…it takes me longer to pack my projects-just-in-case than the clothing and everything else)
    The only exception to Murphy’s Law In Reverse is INSURANCE, auto, health or otherwise. Even prepared, you’re going to need them all eventually.
    Say it with me “if you prepare for it, it will not happen” (Gansey is beautiful too, btw)

  116. Is anyone else noticing a tendency to treat Stephanie’s comments like a public bulletin board? I humbly submit that trying to hitch one’s no-doubt-virtuous-boat to hers for a tow is in poor taste, if not rude and exploitive. Please think twice before pasting posters on her living room walls. Think.

  117. Ah, many a morning I’ve woken up (back ‘ome) and hastily shoved clothes on to run out and grab the garbage bin, then run across the road to put it in the middle of other peoples’ bins πŸ™‚ Oops.
    I too am enjoying the end of summer by knitting a very heavy and warm woollen jumper (DH’s birthday sweater), and on Thursday had to put long pants on! Only the second time since we got here on 23rd June…

  118. It’s a strange thing. The underarm gusset on the gansey is a beautiful thing. I smiled when I saw it. Yet I can’t help but thinking – it’s just the armpit! Ah, I love knitting.
    Hope you enjoyed your day at the park.

  119. Wow! I was so impressed with my own gray cabled sweater on needles for my husband… until I saw your pics. Waaaaay outta my league for this rookie knitter! Looks awesome!

  120. I just wanted to say thanks for translating the metric system for all us Amis. I’m living abroad now, and so I’ve gotten used to the metric system, but I still have to translate it in my head, like I’m speaking a foreign language or something. I just wanted to say thanks for making your site totally stress-free!
    And the sweater looks great, btw.

  121. That gansey is absolutely gorgeous, by the way, even if it makes you have to go wash more wool. Does this mean we’ll get our once-promised tutorial on simmering the wool while washing it? Does that work for old fleeces that were never scoured when new? (As I whistle innocently, avoiding eye contact with the superkid fleece in my closet.)

  122. The eyelid tick is your body’s way of saying “stop doing what you’re doing, and focus on the horizon”. So every hour or so, get up walk around and look far away for a few minutes. I know it seems like a waste of time, but just like the run-walks at the Running Room, you get to go further loner. Helped me get through CA exams 100 years ago. But then again, I’m now wearing coke bottles, so what do I know.

  123. Steph, as always, your knitting is amazing. That you have created this sweater (yarn and all) yourself makes it extra special. I must however warn you that by using Murphy’s Law to your advantage you are risking serious consequences in the future! I followed your link on Murphy’s Law and from there found a site called “The House of Murphy”. Under the heading “Murphy’s Original Law And Its Corollaries” is a list of conclusions. The 10th and final conclusion is, “Mother nature is a bitch.” While we all already knew this, it is scary to think that in taking advantage of Murphy you could in fact be thumbing your nose at Mother Nature. The squirrels might now be the least of your worries…watch your back woman!

  124. Hi Stephanie,
    We’ve been in this house for 19 years. The garbage collectors came in the afternoon. I don’t know exactly when, because I’d be at work. Just this year, someone decided to give the garbage picking contract to a different contracto. These people come in anywhere from 5 am to 7:30 am. We leave for work at 7. We can’t put the garbage out the night before, because there are lots of critters who really love to rip into it (we’ve tried vinegar, urine (don’t ask), commercial products, with no success). So, it’s Russian rullette for us now. What a pain. I feel for you too.
    Take care,
    Rosane.
    P.S.: Oh my, almost forgot to mention what you already know. This gansey is looking so fine. It is really beautiful. Way to go!

  125. Strange tremor thing often means low potassium intake–eat a banana!
    The gansey is looking wonderful. I like the idea of switching projects on a 48hr basis. I have a husband’s aran that needs to be picked up again.

  126. While reading the archives… I noticed that the Kauni cardigan appears as a photo in the Feb 2006 archives… Is your camera recycling photos rather than having to actually take new ones? A new trick?

  127. Rams – I’ve noticed as well and, it is, well, tacky. Even the knitting for charity ones are so.
    It is wonderful to want to be all noble and charitable (it is) but asking for a “by your leave” and asking STEPHANIE to put up a link it if she feels like it would be the Emily Post thing to do.
    M

  128. It’s not just trash that he’s watching out for. How do you think the TTC vehicles know when to pick up speed so that they can leave us standing directly across the street from them, waiting for the light to change, as they whoosh by? As soon as our front door closes, that very same informant is on the phone to TTC Central. He is also the one (so I am told) who informs the shopkeepers to hide their advertised sale items and to put out only their rotting produce. You’ve got to hand it to him, though. He’s the ultimate multi-tasker!

  129. RE eye tremor. It might not be stress. My eye does that when it’s time to hie me to the optometrist for new glasses.
    I have a very large afghan requested by an adult niece that needs 4/5 of the last row of edging to be completed. It will remain waiting until the temperature is predictably below 70F (around 20C ?)
    In the meantime, way cool socks are getting finished!

  130. Heh. I feel an evilness lurking amongst my usually mannerly self, to wit: So, Steph, have you thought about your Christmas knitting yet this year? Who’s getting what and all that? Is everyone getting tired of socks yet? Don’t you think those lovely daughters of yours deserve handknit sweaters this year?

  131. We have the evil recycling truck. It comes on the days it’s supposed to. Technically. Nothing like hearing a creaky garbage truck roar down the alley at 2am. Sounds like drag racing with kindergarteners. Roarroarroarroar squeeeeeeeeeeeekroar uddenudden squeeeeeeeeeekroar crash roar.
    My current Murphy’s Law predicament involves taking up the school uniform for the kindergartener (who has been waking up at ungodly hours to inform my that she really does not want to be late for Monday and did not take it well when she was told she was 24 hours early). I have no sewing machine. Everyone I know with a sewing machine is either out of town or their machine is broken. I finally tracked down a machine. Two little lines to shorten the back at the waist and it took me three days.

  132. I just realized my Murphy’s Law tonight: if we go to the city to visit our dear friends, my son will fall down and need stitches. I just got back from the Emergicenter for the second time this summer.
    And that gansey is gorgeous. I think I said that a few days ago, but it’s till true, so I’ll say it again.
    Good luck with the writing deadline.

  133. ever since the gansey first graced this space, i have been fascinated by it… but after this in depth tale of the whole sleeve issue, i think i’m scared of it! it looks and seems like a work of art. maybe some day i shall tackle one of my own! can’t wait to see yours all done.

  134. Oh, Stephanie, your post brought a smile to my face. It’s crappy weather here in Calgary, too, although it’s supposed to warm up later this week (and I’m probably going to be knitting with Alpaca. Sheesh.)
    The gansey looks great! In the words of Dorey the fish: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. . .”
    K
    ps. I checked your tour dates, and you STILL don’t have Calgary on there. When, oh when, will you come have a drink with us Calgary knitters? Soon, I hope?

  135. Ah, humans. Don’t we love stories! I love yours.
    And, inspite of the garbage/sleep/truck interrelations, or gansey weight and outdoor temperature, co-existence does not equal correlation OR causation!!
    It’s much more fun, of course, to create these supersitions and bits of magic.

  136. Oh no – watch out for the wool eating squirrel. Hope that hasn’t jinxed you- sotty if it has.

  137. Garbage collection? What’s that? We live in the country, and have to take our garbage to the dump.
    Wow – great gansey. When I grow up (I’m 40, btw), I want to be able to knit just like that!

  138. Mrs Murphy’s Law
    If anything can go wrong, it will and the woman will get the blame.
    Its winter here in South Africa and quite cold, so enjoy your summer weather.

  139. Glad to see progress on the gansey! Just make sure you stake down your drying fleece so the squirrel doesn’t run off with it. πŸ™‚

  140. I am related to the Murphy’s. Honestly. So I come by the stupid law genetically. It’s a bitch.
    The gansey looks fabulous!

  141. Enjoy those last bits of summer, enjoy the feel of grass tickling your legs and feet, and the feel of sunshine through the leaves. The gansey is looking marvelous. I can’t wait to watch it’s further progress.
    I think it’s that way with all the garbage companies. I think my neighbors on my block back in NY, just got used to seeing me in my pj’s, bathrobe, and slippers with the garbage can on one arm and two dogs on leashes on the other trudging outside at 2 am…in the snow…I miss NY snow.

  142. I get it now! I, too, have experienced the complete lack of enthusiasm from a Muggle when presented with the miracle of a mitten. My co-worker responded with a disinterested, “Oh, really?” Doesn’t she understand? Doesn’t she get it that I took fluff, used my magic spinning wheel and made yarn? I made yarn!! Then I took two magic wands, waved them over the yarn, alot, and made a mitten? A MITTEN for crying out loud! She should have whispered an amazed and reverent, “Wow!” I pity the poor Muggles who don’t get how truly COOL making a mitten is.

  143. Let’s see…if you control the garbage truck timing by when you take out the garbage, and control the weather by working (or not working) on the gansey…I wonder what sitting with your laptop in the park is going to do? πŸ˜‰
    The gansey is WAY awesome…so gorgeous. Incredible!

  144. It seems as if every country, state and city has the dreaded trash collectors. If I don’t put the trash out, they come at 3:00 a.m. And believe me I know because I can hear the roar of the truck as it comes down our little two-way, fall-off-the-cliff road if you get too close to the edge.
    If I do put the trash out, they come at 3:00 p.m. I think your trash collectors are spying on me, too, way down in Maryland.

  145. Which reminds me of my favorite Spanish saying, the source of which I cannot remember, “que bonito es no hacer nada, y luego descancar.”
    Which means, “How lovely it is to do nothing, and then, to rest.”

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